The 5 best B1G games scheduled for October
In less than a month, B1G football will return. Yes, we had to wait much longer than we originally thought, but a late start is better than no start at all.
With the B1G setting kickoff for the weekend of Oct. 24, each team will play two games before turning the calendar to November. There are plenty of exciting games scheduled for that month, but we wanted to take a look at which games are most intriguing on the first two Saturdays of the season.
Here’s a look at the five best games in the B1G scheduled for the month of October:
5. Michigan State vs. #23 Michigan (Oct. 31)
It’s never too early for a rivalry game, is it? And we get this in-state battle in Week 2 of the revised schedule.
This year’s Michigan State-Michigan matchup may not have quite the same allure as in previous seasons. The Spartans are going through significant changes in personnel and staff, and are coming off two-straight losses to the Wolverines. While Michigan obviously lost some key contributors from last year’s team, it will enter this contest as the more talented team.
But the 2020 season marks the beginning of a new era in the rivalry, with Jim Harbaugh and Mel Tucker going head to head for the first time. It’ll be a great early test for Tucker’s crew, while Harbaugh and Co. attempt to prove their worthy of B1G East consideration.
4. Iowa vs. Purdue (Oct. 24)
Look at the two schools playing and you might make the assumption that this game will come down to a test between Iowa’s defense and Purdue’s offense. But when you dig a little deeper, this game actually has the potential to be a bit of a shootout, which might be a little strange for a game involving the Hawkeyes.
Purdue has Rondale Moore, David Bell and Amad Anderson Jr. Iowa has Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith and Tyrone Tracy Jr. Both teams will have (relatively) inexperienced guys at quarterback. The Boilers have a new defensive coordinator in Bob Diaco. The Hawkeyes said goodbye to some of their best defensive players from last year’s 10-3 team.
Buckle up, because this one could actually see a lot of points put on the scoreboard.
3. #10 Penn State vs. Indiana (Oct. 24)
Is there such thing as a trap game in Week 1? Because if so, then Penn State might’ve fallen into it.
Not only do the Nittany Lions play the biggest game of the season in Week 2 against Ohio State (guess where that game falls on our list), but they’ll have to make a road trip to Bloomington to open the year. In the past, playing the Hoosiers would be a nice warm-up game before a primetime showdown. But IU is fresh off an 8-5 season and is itching to prove it can be competitive in the B1G East.
Both teams return starting quarterbacks, both running back rooms are loaded and the offensive lines should be better. Penn State’s defense is probably a step ahead of Indiana’s entering the season, but this is still a tough matchup for James Franklin and Co. This could be an incredibly fun Week 1 matchup.
2. #23 Michigan vs. Minnesota (Oct. 24)
Looking for a Week 1 matchup with significant implications for both teams? How about some Little Brown Jug action?
Minnesota is attempting to prove that the 2019 season (11-2) wasn’t a flash in the pan and that it can be a regular challenger to the likes of Wisconsin and Iowa in the B1G West. With quarterback Tanner Morgan, running back Mohamed Ibrahim, (possibly) wide receiver Rashod Bateman and a loaded offensive line, the Gophers still have the weapons to be an offensive power.
Michigan is perceived as a team well behind Ohio State and Penn State this year, primarily because it lost Shea Patterson at quarterback, three receivers in Tarik Black, Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones and all but one starter from the offensive line. It would be able to send a pretty loud message to the B1G with a win over Minnesota on the road.
A loss won’t necessarily eliminate either team from their respective division race, but it would certainly put them behind the 8-ball.
1. #6 Ohio State vs. #10 Penn State (Oct. 31)
This is the one circled on every B1G fan’s calendar. The Halloween showdown between Ohio State and Penn State in Happy Valley in what will likely determine the winner of the East and probably have College Football Playoff implications. It’s easily the most important game on the schedule for both teams.
It’s fitting that it’s scheduled for Halloween, because watching this game in Beaver Stadium without a White Out crowd will certainly be eerie.
Penn State is considered the biggest challenger to Ohio State in the B1G East, and for good reason. With a returning quarterback in Sean Clifford and a locker room full of talented running backs, this is a year that the Nittany Lions could get their first win over the Buckeyes since 2016.
But Ohio State is on a mission. With Justin Fields under center, an improved offensive line and Ohio State’s stacked linebacker position and secondary, the Buckeyes have all the necessary pieces for a national championship run.
Do we wish this game was a little later in the season? Sure. But it’s going to be a really fun game to close out the month of October.